The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) held its annual conference in Jerusalem, Israel from July 6-10, 2015. Attendance peaked at 1,000 with more than 21 countries represented. More than 60 video-recorded sessions are available for on-demand viewing for those not able to be at the conference (visit www.iajgs2015.org to subscribe) and include the opening event keynote by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and Chairman of Yad Vashem, and address by Gilad Japhet, CEO of MyHeritage.
This conference is unique in the quality of resources available, the depth and diversity of experts available, the importance of making use of modern technology alongside the basics of genealogy research, and the truly international interest and cooperation. For the first time, a Family Fun Day, filled with multigenerational hands-on family history activities, was held in conjunction with the conference.
The climax of the conference was the banquet evening where awards were given out to outstanding individuals and groups. The following distinguished award recipients for 2015 were recognized (photos of the recipients are posted at https://www.facebook.com/IAJGSConference/posts/843233539063800):
Lifetime Achievement Award:
In recognition of Judy’s tireless work as: a LitvakSIG board member; moderator of the LitvakSIG Discussion Group; membership of the JRI Poland Board; Lomza Archive Coordinator; and moderator of the Lodz Area Research Group and BialyGen discussion groups. Judy was also involved in editing/proofreading Yizkor Book translations for Ciechanowiec, Eisiskes and Ostrow Mazowiecka, and is a sought-after speaker.
JGS of Greater Boston – JewishGen Memorial Plaque Database Contribution
In recognition of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston being the leading contributor to the JewishGen Memorial Plaque Database, accounting for 52% of the entries. JGSGB has submitted 37,628 entries from 62 Massachusetts synagogues/Jewish organizations. When gravestone and burial records are not available, memorial plaques are an invaluable source of vital information. It is likely that these plaques and their information would have remained hidden and eventually lost but for the initiative and diligence of the Society’s members.
Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island You Tube Channel
In recognition of JGS of Long Island work to increase its membership and attract younger members. Using social media creatively with a relevant, informative message, and getting to the point quickly; JGSLI created a series of short, informative videos available to its members and the greater genealogical community through its new YouTube channel. This unique program includes 10 videos with a goal of adding a new one monthly. This innovative project can be replicated by other IAJGS members.
Jewish Genealogical Society of Maryland, Newsletter L’Dor V’Dor
In recognition of the very comprehensive and outstanding Jewish Genealogical Society of Maryland newsletter, L’Dor V’Dor, published by a society that is not yet two years old. This attractive newsletter under the leadership of Publication Chair, Susan Steeble, compares favorably to publications of much more mature organizations. L’Dor V’Dor includes a variety of articles, from research methodologies to success stories to brick walls. Its breadth and depth are unique.
IAJGS Member of the Year:
Israel Genealogy Research Association
In recognition of the work of the Israel Genealogy Research Association, which reorganized 3.5 years ago. IGRA has created the All Israel Database (AID), which currently includes over 420,000 records, searchable by name in Hebrew and English. IGRA is working with more than thirty different archives in Israel, including collaborating with the Israel State Archives to index marriage and divorce records from the British Mandate Period of Palestine. IGRA’s innovative programming includes their online databases, journal and video conferencing.
Volunteer of the Year:
Jan Meisels Allen
In recognition of the work of Jan Meisels Allen, President of Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County and Chair of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee. A former IAJGS Vice-President who strives to keep Jewish genealogists aware of opportunities and records access issues through her messages to the IAJGS leadership and JewishGen. A regular volunteer for IAJGS International Conferences, she has coordinated access to a huge variety of online databases supporting the attendees’ research experiences.
Past recipients (starting in 1998)of IAJGS Achievement Awards can be found at http://www.iajgs.org/blog/awards/achievement-awards/. For more information on the IAJGS and where you can find the closest Jewish Genealogical Society visit www.iajgs.org. Visit https://www.facebook.com/IAJGSConference to see many photos and postings from this year’s conference. The next annual IAJGS conference will be held in Seattle, Washington August 7-12, 2016 www.iajgs2016.org.